To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week we have put together a guide to looking after your mental health.  This year has been particularly challenging and looking after your mental health should be a priority every single day.

Our first tip for looking after your mental health is to make time each week for you.  This could involve making time to catch up with friends or family, planning to go for a walk or even sitting down to read your favourite book.  It is so important to have plans to look forward to throughout the week however big or small.  When you are setting your weekly goals ensure that you set personal goals such as meeting up with a friend or going out for a certain number of walks.

Regular exercise leads to increased levels of self-esteem and reduces stress.  When you participate in any form of exercise, chemicals are released such as endorphins and serotonin and this helps to improve your mood.  It is important to participate in exercise that you enjoy in order to find the motivation to go out and take part.  In order to stay healthy, the NHS recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity.

Sleep is really important to maintaining good mental health.  Sleep affects mood, energy and concentration levels.  If we do not get enough sleep, our brain struggles to generate the amount of energy required and this can lead to difficulty with concentration and recalling information.  There are several ways to improve your sleep and these include setting a routine e.g. going to sleep at a similar time each night, reducing screen time before bed and avoiding caffeine intake late in the day.

Practicing mindfulness can also be really beneficial to your mental health.  We have held several mindfulness sessions with our trainees where we have practiced relaxation techniques such as meditation.  The Mediation session explored with CTTC enabled me to try it in a socially distanced way as part of a collective. Since I haven’t looked back and incorporated it into my morning routine. It is a MUST for my positive start and intentions of day and completed in more than 5 minutes”.  There are really useful platforms to help get started with meditation including the app ‘Headspace’.  Headspace provides guided meditations, articles and videos and helps to teach people that mediation can be enjoyed at any time and in any location.